Friday, May 21, 2021

The Dyer family


My latest incursion into the past has occupied me for a whole three days. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I decided to investigate a little bundle of 1870s family photos relating to the names Baddeley and Dyer of Australia and New Zealand. I began with the Baddeleys, but soon came to realise that it was somebody from the Dyer family who had put together this collection. And once I realized that, the pictures tumbled forth, many labelled in an aged hand … and just occasionally giving a clue to who the collector might have been. ‘My brother William …’. And when I started to investigate, what Dyer straights I got into …

I won’t tire you with the ins and outs of my searches, but it has left me with a small problem. There seem to be two families of Dyers, reaching back for English centuries. I have long puzzled to find a connection between the two somewhere, any where, for there must be one, as our collector had handsful of pictures from both the expansive Dyers of Cromhall and Wotton under-Edge, and the Dyers of the East India Company and Waikato. And Bristol. Bristol. It looks as if Gloucestershire is
where I should be seeking.

I don't know where this portait comes from, but its allegedly a Dyer of Gloucs.

Fun! Lovely part of the world. I spent many a happy weekend there last century, with my partner, Ian, chasing his ancestors, from Frampton on Severn to, yes, Wotton under Edge. Wouldn’t it be fun if the Winchcombe family and the Dyer family had a wee link!

So, where do I start? ‘My brother William’? Unfortunately every generation of this large family seems to have had a William. And a John, and a Samuel, and if room, a Charles… but we have a clue.

Alice Caroline Dyer (b Batheaton 29 September 1850; d 1925) was the youngest daughter of William Dyer, a surgeon with the East India Company, who, in that capacity, wandered somewhat and ended up with his family in New Zealand. Alice didn't stay. She went back to Britain and married Frederick Augustus Blaydes (below, 1845-1931) of Harringdon, Northants, who latterly changed his name to the rather odd but aristocratic Page-Turner.

They had a dozen or so children, of whom the first was Edith Marguerite Blaydes (b Somerset 14 July 1875) ..


and so forth. But we're heading backward, not forward. Let's look at the army doctor. Here he is, in his older age.

Born in Bristol 9 August 1795, died in Auckland, NZ, 20 June 1877. This photo was taken in Parnell in 1870.

William married another scion of John Company, Miss Charlotte Baker (b 9 October 1799; d Auckland 1 February 1863), and fathered nine children, of which five survived to adulthood, and it is that part of the family which features mostly in our collection. The eldest of them was Robert Coates Dyer (b Berhampur 14 February 1834; d Waikato 1 August 1912) ..

who married Caroline Mary Fisher (b 1838; d Waikato 29 May 1891) in 1855. He became the headmaster of Cambridge (Waikato) Public School. His daughter, Emily Charlotte (b New Zealand 14 June 1857; d Waikato 18 September 1937) made the photo collection

Then came Henry Hardwicke Dyer (b Didmarton 20 August 1836; d Wellington 13 August 1913) who, liked his brother, lived out his life in New Zealand. He married into the (Clinton) Baddeley family, his wife being Emma of that ilk (b Quebec 1834; d Wellington 12 September 1909) and opened a whole new New Zealand branch of Baddeley Dyers with the help of the survivors of their nine children. Mum and Dad seem to have been camera shy, but they sent home pictures of baby Alice and baby Maude (future Mrs Heenan).

Henry wasn't the only one to partake of the Baddeley cake. His sister, Constance Louisa (b Wotton under Edge 6 August 1841; d Auckland 1 January 1901) married Emma's brother, Henry Salkeld Clinton Baddeley (b Glasgow, Scotland 1841; d Falmouth 12 September 1904), lawyer and judge.

They bred four surviving small [Clinton] Baddeleys whom I shall detail because I have their photos!

First came Henry (b Onehunga 5 October 1865; d Budleigh Salterton 22 February 1905) whose claims to fame rests in being the father of the writer known as V C Clinton Baddeley

Second, was William Herman Clinton Baddeley (b Parnell 10 May 1867; d London 1929) who wed Louise Rosalie Bourdin and bred daughters

Next Came Constance Flora (b Auckland 1868; d Bishop Auckland 24 December 1937) who would become, later in life, Mrs William G Harrison

And, lastly, Cyril (b Hokitika 2 November 1870; d Oldham May 1914)

Right, that's the Baddeleys.

Just one more sister for Constance and Alice: Harriet Elizabeth (b Didmarton July 1840; d Auckland 1916). Harriet married Samuel Henry Stratford 'son of Dr Stratford' on 8 September 1866. I see the Stratfords living in St Helier's Bay, Manakau in 1911.

Now back to William the army doctor, who is, I think, the key to stitching this family back together.
William was apparently the son of Robert Dyer MD of Wotton and Bristol ('apothecary of Park Street') and his wife Mary, and he had three brothers and two sisters. Maria Trotman Dyer died at 26 unmarried, Harriet at 61 similarly. His brothers were allegedly Robert, Samuel and James Hardwicke Dyer. One of whom was seemingly our collector, for the girls were both dead before the 1870s when these pictures were being sent back from New Zealand. Now Geni's family tree says that Robert lived till 1878, the Reverend James Hardwicke lived till 1871 [but his (second) wife Emma Parris née Mills lived until 1904] and that Samuel died at the age of 15. But I have culled this little piece from the Bristol press for 1824

14 October. Died at his residence Combe House, near Wotton under Edge, Samuel Dyer Esq brother of Dr Dyer of Park Street [Bristol].

Dr Dyer is surely Robert (1759-1830), and the Samuel (born 1853) who died in 1824 at Co[o]mbe House is well and truly known to me and the source of ... I think I've solved it! And Samuel's descendants feature largely in the photo collection. So do the Rev James's.

This family has been hugely written about as they featured largely in Gloucestershire life, so I'll be brief and concentrate on the pictures. The Dyer family can be seen in and around Wotton as far back at 1300 ('Dayher'), and had done pretty well for themselves. In the 18th and 19th century their seats were Coombe House and Heath End House, and when, in 1807, the lady of the manor died, her will displayed a vast amount of property, cash and chattels. I delved way back into the 17th century looking for the missing link, before I found it in the Bristol press, so I've amassed a heap of material which doesn't really concern our photos and the who and why of them. So, I'll start with our 18th century lady of the manor. Ann Webb, younger sister of the wealthy Thomas Webb, married John Dyer of Wotton under Edge. She seemingly had a vast number of children: her will names Samuel, Thomas Webb, William, Charles, John, Lucia, Elizabeth and Mary as all surviving. Her memorial at St Andrew's, Cromhall also commemorates her fifth son, Robert (b 1760), merchant, died at sea 25 July 1802 on his way back from India, eldest son, John (1 September 1749-15 May 1815), youngest son, William (b 1766; d 2 November 1834) and his wife Frances née Codrington, and Charles who died seemingly single 29 August 1842. He left his money to his nieces and nephews. It's Samuel, the above one, we are interested in the most. He married Ann, the daughter of Lt-Col William Adey (19 March 1762-28 April 1842), and they produced Elizabeth, Robert, Ann, Catherine Esther, Jane, William, John, Samuel .. Most of these had truncated lives, but one lived on well into the age of photography. Maiden auntie Jane (b Wotton on Edge 2 September 1806; d Norwood 21 October 1890).

Auntie Jane seems to have lived with various family members, and heberged various others ... 

I wonder, could she have been the collector?

So Jane's father died in 1824. Only four of his children outlived him. John seems to have become a solicitor, Caroline Esther married a widowed doctor at 40 produced two children and died, and Samuel the next ... he married Emma Shearman (1816-1856) and got down to keeping this particular Dyer line populated. Four of their ten children died as infants, Emma died at 40, and Samuel committed suicide by cutting his throat in a boarding house at Weston-super-Mare. I don't have his photo but there is this

I wonder which of the girls had an hysterical fit. Ah, yes. Mary Elizabeth. It fits. She would have been nine. Mother dead, father 'excited' ... Mary Elizabeth married a Robert Harden and bore children, but she ended her days in a lunatic asylum ..

So, at 17 years of age, Samuel's eldest son, Samuel Webb Dyer (b Cromhall 1844; d Paignton 8 March 1917) was left as head of the family.

He must have had some help. He gained an LLB from Caius College, and he married the pretty Kate Frances Mary Gwynne 'daughter of Daniel Wynne MD of Tenby' who carried on the family tradition by producing a dozen children. I have pictures of a couple of them.

This is Kate's first child, Gwendoline Kate Mary (b 22 June1874) who died, umarried, in 1960.

This is her second, Bertram, who died shortly after his first photo session. Three sons died as infants, one was killed at Gallipoli, leaving just the youngest, Claude William Dyer (b 8 July 1888) to lead the family towards our days. He died in 1967. Three, maybe four of the daughters remained spinsters, but Gladys Sylvia (1876-1950) married Isaac Newton Henry Watson, Gwendoline Marguerite (1906-1986) wed, temporarily, one James Craig, and Constance Muriel (1878-1951) became Mrs Robert Owen Garrett-Pegge. And there I stop.

Since this collection of pictures is largely from the 1870s, with additions in the 1890s (by someone else?) we will leave the descendants of Sam W and Kate, and make a U turn back to the littlest brother of our central Dr William Dyer. The Rev James H Dyer. I have not yet worked out why the other boys in the family were christened plain Robert, Samuel and William, whilst James got the fancy 'Hardwicke' for a middle name. But it stuck. All the way up to the present day,

James can be described in one sentence. BA Trinity College Oxon and thirty-four years vicar of Great Waltham. James married, firstly, and then at Chelmsford 31 May 1849 Emma Parris Mills, youngest daughter of the late Thomas Mills of Coval Hall and vicar of Bumpstead Helion, Essex. Those marriages produced a picture gallery of children, as follows (in no particular order):

Charles Robert (b Great Waltham 11 January 1861; d 11 Helena Rd, Southsea 8 January 1928). He went to Royal Military College, joined the 4th Batallion of the Middlesex Regiment, rising to Captain with the 2nd Batallion. He served in India, where he married, at Khandwa, Marian Colvin 'daughter of the late Rev Robert Francis Colvin of Edinburgh', by whom he fathered an Eleanor and a James Hardwicke. 

I see that by the 1911 census he has risen to Lt-Colonel.

Charlotte Hester (b Great Waltham 1 April 1856; d Folkestone 14 December 1935) became the wife of Commander Frederick Rowland Dicken. In the 1911 census they have two daughters and two sons and he is described as a 'retired captain in the Royal Navy'.

Frances Elizabeth (b Great Waltham, 13 July 1854; d 4 the Leas, Folkestone 8 October 1934) unmarried.

(the Rev) Hardwicke Mills Dyer (doesn't he just reek the country parson!) (b Great Waltham 31 May 1851; d White Waltham 7 January 1905) became rector of Shottesbrooke and White Waltham, married the future mayor's daughter, Lilian Mary Beadel 'eldest daughter of Mr W J Beadel of Springfield Lyons and niece of Rev Thomas Church, rector of Quainton, Bucks'.

In the 1891 census, the widowed Emma Parris Dyer can be seen living in Folkestone with Frances, Emily Gertrude (1858-1926), and stepdaughter Harriet Louisa Maitland Dyer (1843-1934). Daughter Emma Mary (1852-1878) had married the Rev Clement Fox Harvey, borne him three children, and died at 26. 

One extra. Our William Dyer did have one more child. Mary or Mary Charlotte. I didn't follow her up, because she was born in Lucknow 15 December 1838, and died in the ill-fated settlement of Maharangi, NZ 24 April 1858. Nineteen years old. But a little picture led me to her. Mary had had time to marry and mother two children 

Here is the aforesaid John Churton (b 28 June 1856) aged 16 and a lad just labelled 'Bertie'. Same photographer, same desk, different mount ... is this younger brother William Robert (b 8 April 1858; d 1905) whose birthing killed mother? I haven't followed them up. But I may, some rainy day.

Well that almost ties up the part of the Dyer family that has tumbled into my world, and almost empties the picture box.
There are one or two pix remaining, however, who, for example is this lovely lady? Louisa Dyer photographed in Bath ...

My only theory is that she could be the daughter of the Rev Jas Hardwicke's first marriage, officially Harriet Louisa ...

Then the is a bunch of Sturt family. Just friends of the family? Or somehow connected? And there is the odd New Zealand one that is not written on at all..

Well, that's me done ...

Except to say that while wooffling around in Wotton under Edge, I came upon, yes ... Henry Winchcombe Dyer! Big man. Clothier and civic dignitary. Alas! I gave all Ian's papers to the Mitchell Library, NSW, after his death, but there may be something, somewhere on one of my computers from those years ago ...

But whether I am micro-linked to this family or not, it has been fun following them from Gloucestershire to Calcutta to Hokitika, these days past. And here they can all be together, one last time, before they are dispersed to the folk, or hopefully the family, who are bidding on e-bay ...

Oh, lawks, is this another ....


Mary said...

The third from last photo that says Hemas and Hanna underneath looks like an older Bertie. Interesting read thank you. Mary

Mary said...
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